Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Little Miss Sunshine, and a little rant
I finally caught up with the movie Little Miss Sunshine last night on DVD, and found it to be every bit as funny and enjoyable as I'd heard. What's really amazing is that my husband, who's not a big fan of little comedies or independent films, watched it and laughed right along with me. Whether that broadness of appeal will serve it well on Oscar night remains to be seen. I don't know if it's really substantial enough to bear the Best Picture mantle, but it would be kind of a kick to see something sweet and light and fun beat out all the grim and violent and super-serious fare that usually triumphs. Speaking of all those grim and violent films -- one thing that really struck me about Little Miss Sunshine is that it's like a case study for why the movie rating system needs to be overhauled. I'm not saying it's a great movie for kids; they'd be bored, if nothing else. But to give this confection the same rating as, say, an over-the-top violent film like The Departed seems kinda nuts. Little Miss Sunshine's "R" seems to be mostly for its language, and it's true that the grandfather's patter is extremely salty and sexual. The other characters call him on it, though, and aside from his spiels there are only a few random "F-words" used in times of extreme frustration and anger by the parents and teen brother. The grandfather is also seen snorting heroin once, and the covers of some pornographic magazines are shown. Compared to the language load you'd get in most R-rated films, or drug use or sex or graphic violence, it's pristine. The ratings are supposed to guide parents, and I'll tell you, if they're putting the same rating on this movie and, say, "Saw III," they're not helping me distinguish very well things that will give my teens a naughty laugh versus things that will make them unable to sleep, ever. I'm just saying, there needs to be a better system, and there needs to be people setting the ratings who are more shocked by violence than they are by bad language and a chubby little girl doing a fake strip-tease fully clothed.
Posted by Terri Mauro at 11:48 AM